What does it feel like to be suicidal? Causes, treatment and support

By | October 6, 2021

Those experiencing suicidal thoughts may feel alone, frightened and confused and like there is no way out of their problems.

But according to charities like mind – they are not alone.

Many people think about suicide at some point in their lifetime and plenty of sufferers go on to find alternatives to suicide – leaving them glad they did not take their own life.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the Samaritans on 116 123.

Suicidal feelings can vary from abstract thoughts to organised and clear plans. Different people struggle in different ways.

What does it feel like to be suicidal?

For many people, they may feel less like they want to die and more like they cannot go on living the life they have.

Other may feel unable to cope with difficult feelings.

Old people
People of all ages can suffer suicidal thoughts ( Getty)

These emotions can build over time or suddenly change from moment to moment and its normal to find it confusing.

Mind define suicidal thoughts as feeling:

  • hopeless, like there is no point in living
  • unbearable pain that you can’t imagine ending
  • useless, not wanted or not needed
  • desperate, as if you have no other choice
  • like everyone would be better off without you
  • cut off from your body or physically numb
  • interested in death

They explain that those with suicidal thoughts might experience:

  • poor sleep
  • a change in appetite
  • no desire to take care of yourself, for example neglecting your physical appearance
  • avoiding others
  • making a will or giving away possessions
  • self-loathing
  • urges to self-harm.

Suicidal feelings last different amounts of time for different people. It is common to feel as if you’ll never be happy again.

Mum shocked by daughter's 'wildlife' homework - but dad thinks it's hilarious
Childbirth and parenthood can trigger suicidal thoughts in some ( Getty Images)

But with treatment and support, the majority of people who have felt suicidal go on to live healthy and happy lives.

Common causes of suicidal feelings

  • mental health problems
  • bullying, discrimination or abuse
  • bereavement, including losing a loved one to suicide
  • physical pain or illness
  • a big change, such as retirement
  • money or housing problems
  • loneliness
  • being in prison
  • addiction or substance abuse
  • pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression
  • doubts about your sexual or gender identity
  • trauma.
  • a breakup

Treatment for suicidal feelings

If you have suicidal thoughts you should go to your GP and ask for support.

It is common to find this daunting, but they are used to listening to people who are experiencing difficult feelings.

Caucasian mother and daughter talking on sofa
Sometimes simply talking to others can help ( Getty Images)

Your GP can refer you to talking therapy, give you medication or refer you to a specialist team.

Follow mind’s advice on how to talk to you GP for tips.

Peer support groups are available for those struggling and offer the chance to share thoughts and feelings.

These support groups can be one-to-one, in groups – via text, phone, email or in person.

There are a few different places that you can find online peer support, including:

Alternatively, a crisis service is any service that is available at short notice to help and support you during a mental health crisis.

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